Finally, it seems summer has arrived! With a week of glorious sunshine and rather balmy temperatures, which look set to continue for a good few weeks, I think we can guarantee a year we can all manage a good tan.
But, with most of us catching a few rays on our lunch hour and with a sun kissed bronzed complexion the goal in mind, are we all looking after our skin as we should?
I was shocked to hear that as a ivory skinned, (fake) red head, I should be wearing an Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 in the UK and 50 abroad. This news put a pretty big dampener on my pride of wearing an SPF of 15 at the local park in the midday sun. No wonder I was suffering with a touch of the lobster look- according to Boots Soltan, SPF 15 is recommended for olive, naturally tanned skin only. Not me then!
What I find most worrying though, is that I am a BIG cancer research campaigner. As a committee member of North West Cancer Research I presumed I was pretty clued up on my skin cancer prevention. How wrong I was.
So, what should we be looking for in our SPF?
Well, we need UVB protection to stop us from burning and protection from UVA will prevent us from ageing prematurely, so a suncream that provides BOTH UVA and UVB protection is a MUST.
Which level of SPF should I choose?
The easiest way to work your what you need is to think of this equation- (get your maths head on!) For example, if it 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning pink, using an SPF 15 sunscreen should prevent reddening for 15 times longer, which is about about five hours. However, experts recon light/fair/pale skin tones should use SPF 30 in UK climate and 30-50+ in a hot-very hot climate, where as olive and naturally/easily tanned complexions can wear SPF 15 in the UK and 30-50 in hot-very hot climates. Not too sure? Speak to a sun care consultant at stores such as Boots.
When should I apply?
Apply a full shot glass amount to your entire body 30 minutes before exposing your skin to the sun. Re-apply after two hours or if your skin feels hot or is reddening. Always re-apply after swimming.
My favourite suncream is one introduced to me at QVC- and is used by most guest experts and all presenters that I have met during my time there.
UltraSun, a Swiss company founded in 1992, are specialists in sun care. With all their products being perfume, oil and emulsifier free they are perfect for the most sensitive of skins and ensure you don't experience the dreaded 'prickly heat'.
Price wise, Ultrasun isn't majorly expensive, esepcially if you buy through QVC who have some fantastic kits available.
So as this lovely sunshine continues, make sure you take a moment to make sure your skin is protected. I fear it's something we may live to regret otherwise.